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The Irrelevance of Bootstrapping

David Christensen
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 57, No. 4 (Dec., 1990), pp. 644-662
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/187766
Page Count: 19
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The Irrelevance of Bootstrapping
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Abstract

The main appeal of the currently popular "bootstrap" account of confirmation developed by Clark Glymour is that it seems to provide an account of evidential relevance. This account has, however, had severe problems; and Glymour has revised his original account in an attempt to solve them. I argue that this attempt fails completely, and that any similar modifications must also fail. If the problems can be solved, it will only be by radical revisions which involve jettisoning bootstrapping's basic approach to theories. Finally, I argue that there is little reason to think that even such drastic modifications will lead to a satisfactory account of relevance.

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